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Projects & Proposals > Citywide > Climate Resilience Printer Friendly Version
Climate Resilience

As a coastal city, New York City has always faced risks from severe storms and coastal flooding. Hurricane Sandy was as a stark reminder that these climate-related risks exist today. As recognized in Vision 2020, the City’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, climate change and sea level rise will increase these risks in the future, and it is crucial that the city improve its resilience – the ability of its neighborhoods, buildings and infrastructure to withstand and recover quickly from weather-related events.

The Department of City Planning, in collaboration with other agencies, has undertaken a number of initiatives to build the city’s resilience. These studies are focused on identifying and implementing land use and zoning changes as well as other actions needed to support the short-term recovery and long-term vitality of communities affected by Hurricane Sandy and other areas at risk of coastal flooding.

Resilient Neighborhoods

Through the Resilient Neighborhoods Initiative, DCP will work with communities to identify changes to zoning and land use and other actions that support the vitality of neighborhoods and will help residents and businesses withstand and recover quickly from future storms and other climate events.

Resilient Neighborhoods

The 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan

The Department of City Planning, in partnership with the New York City Office of Emergency (OEM), is pleased to announce the release of the final draft 2014 New York City Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP).

The Plan identifies and assesses risks from natural and man-made disasters and defines strategies to reduce their impacts. In order to maintain eligibility for FEMA hazard mitigation funding, local and state jurisdictions are required to update their Plan every five years. The updated Plan will leverage new research and lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, present additional detail on future climate hazards and other anticipated changes such as population growth and future development, and be expanded to include man-made hazards. The goal of the HMP is to make New York City a safer, more resilient city by presenting a blueprint for mitigating risks to human life, public health and safety, infrastructure and property posed by natural disasters and man-made hazards.

The draft HMP was submitted for review and approval by New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NYS DHSES) and FEMA.

Visit the OEM Hazard Mitigation Website.

The 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan

Flood Resilience Zoning Text Amendment
Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, DCP developed a Flood Resilience Zoning Text Amendment to enable new and existing buildings throughout designated flood zones to meet the latest standards for flood-resistant construction. This action removed a range of impediments to flood-resistant construction and incorporated measures to mitigate potential negative effects of flood-resistant construction on the streetscape and public realm. The text amendment was adopted in October 2013. Areas within which Zoning Text Would Apply (Effective and Advisory FEMA 100-year flood zones)

Sustainable Communities Climate Resilience Studies

DCP has produced two studies to help New York City and other urban waterfront communities to improve their resilience to coastal flood risks and promote livable, sustainable neighborhoods. Both reports were published in June 2013.

Designing for Flood Risk identifies key principles to guide the design of new buildings in flood zones to promote construction that can not only withstand coastal flood events, but also supports the vibrancy of the urban public realm. Recognizing the distinct character and needs of higher-density urban environments, the report provides recommendations for how regulations and individual project design can incorporate these principles.

Designing for Flood Risk

Urban Waterfront Adaptive Strategies provides a systematic assessment of the coastal flood hazards that face New York City, a thorough survey of coastal protection and adaptation strategies that may be suitable for different shoreline and neighborhood types, and a framework for evaluating coastal protection alternatives.  The report is intended to serve as a resource for planners, policymakers, and communities within New York City, the region, and elsewhere in the coastal United States.

Urban Waterfront Adaptive Strategies
The two studies, begun prior to Hurricane Sandy, were funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant to the New York - Connecticut Sustainable Communities Consortium.

New York City Issues Executive Order To Facilitate Flood-Resilient Construction

On January 31, 2013, the City issued an Executive Order to temporarily suspend certain provisions of the Zoning Resolution to enable rebuilding to the Advisory Base Flood Elevations released by FEMA, which represent the best currently available information on flood risks. The City also adopted a new rule to increase the required minimum flood proofing elevation so that substantially damaged buildings and new construction are built to withstand greater flood risk.

Facilitate Flood-Resilient Construction

Presentation by City Planning Director of Sustainability Howard Slatkin to City Planning Commission

December 17, 2012

File contains Commission Audio with Accompanying Slides, followed by full video of Commission discussion
Presentation by City Planning Director of Sustainability Howard Slatkin to City Planning Commission

Climate Resilience in Vision 2020: The NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan

Released on March 14, 2011, Vision 2020 is the culmination of a year-long, participatory planning process involving multiple agencies and organizations and input from New Yorkers in every borough. Building on the City's success in opening up to the public miles of shoreline that had been inaccessible for decades, and supporting expansion of the maritime industry, Vision 2020 sets the stage for expanded use of our waterfront for parks, housing and economic development, and our waterways for transportation, recreation and natural habitats. The 10-year plan lays out a vision for the future with new citywide policies and site-specific recommendations. Chapter 8 outlines the city’s policy of identifying and pursuing strategies to increase the city’s resilience to climate change and sea level rise.

Vision 2020: The NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan

Waterfront Revitalization Program

The Department of City Planning made a series of revisions to the Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP) in order to proactively advance the long-term goals laid out in Vision 2020: The New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, released in 2011. The WRP is the City’s primary coastal zone management tool, and the proposed revisions, currently undergoing public review, emphasize sustainability and climate resilience planning, promote a range of ecological objectives and strategies, facilitate interagency review of permitting to preserve and enhance maritime infrastructure, and support a thriving, sustainable working waterfront. Revisions incorporate consideration of climate resilience into the review of projects in the coastal area.

Waterfront Revitalization Program

DCP Green Initiatives
New York City is already a green city. DCP is working to make the city even more livable and sustainable, with a healthy environment, a high quality of life, and the ability to weather severe storms and changes in climate. As part of PlaNYC, DCP is helping to achieve the City's 2030 sustainability objectives through a number of green initiatives. These include requirements for street tree planting and landscaping of yards and parking lots, measures to promote alternatives to automobile use such as bicycling and car sharing services, and innovative zoning changes to foster more efficient buildings and rooftop agriculture under the Zone Green initiative.  DCP Green Initiatives



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